July 7, 2024
In-Depth Issues:

5 Pro-Palestinian Independent Candidates Defeat Labour MPs in UK - Camilla Turner (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
    Five pro-Palestinian independent candidates defeated Labour rivals in the UK elections on Thursday.
    They include former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was expelled from the party over charges of antisemitism.
    Four new independent MPs were elected in areas with among the highest proportion of Muslim voters in the UK.

AIPAC's Modest Sway - Daniel J. Samet (New York Post)
    Democratic radicals facing tough primaries are lambasting AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, for the sin of helping their opponents.
    AIPAC, which has been around since 1963, has long taken flak from opponents who argue that it nefariously influences American policy.
    Yet AIPAC has the same First Amendment rights that all Americans do.
    Moreover, according to the Open Secrets website, which follows money in U.S. politics, AIPAC has been outspent by 11 other political action committees this election cycle.
    The truth is AIPAC is hardly the only one to give money to politicians it supports.
    It is a political action committee like any other - just one of many parts of America's lively civil society.

Addressing Israel's Reliance on U.S. Military Aid - Dr. Joel Fishman (Ynet News)
    Israel is dependent on the U.S. for the vital supply of weapons and munitions.
    Some American policymakers are uncomfortable with a strong and independent Israel.
    Ynet's military correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai has written that the Obama administration demanded that American military aid funds not be spent in Israel.
    They did not want to finance the Israel defense industry and persuaded Israel to accept a bigger financial aid package in its place.
    Thus, Israel sacrificed its freedom to manufacture certain types of weapons and became dependent on the U.S.
    Moreover, inventory that had been stored in Israel was depleted when it was transferred to Ukraine but not replenished.
    The writer is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Foreign Affairs.

The Fast-Growing IED Threat in the West Bank - Amir Bar Shalom (Times of Israel)
    Within a week, the Israel Defense Forces has lost two fighters to powerful roadside bombs in the West Bank.
    Cpt. Alon Sacgiu, 22, was killed in the Jenin refugee camp on June 27; Sgt. First Class (res.) Yehuda Geto, 22, was killed in the Nur Shams refugee camp on July 1.
    Sources at the IDF Central Command speak about the deepening threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are reminiscent of the threat in the 1990s in the Security Zone in South Lebanon, where Hizbullah focused on placing IEDs along and under roads.
    To counter this threat, the IDF began sending backhoes and armored D9 bulldozers into the refugee camps of northern Samaria ahead of other forces, to shave the upper layer of asphalt on the roads.
    But the terror groups started burying the IEDs deeper. The 100-kg. explosive device that killed Sacgiu and injured 15 other soldiers in an armored personnel carrier was placed at a depth of 1.5 meters.

Tracking Iran's Weapons Route into the West Bank - Jonathan Spyer (Jerusalem Post)
    As part of Iran's strategic objective to surround Israel with active fronts supported by Islamist client militias, the regime is seeking to add an eastern component through Jordan to the West Bank.
    Tehran has succeeded in establishing an arms route to bring military materiel from Iran into Lebanon, and then into Syria, Jordan, and the West Bank.
    It is intended, over time, to flood the West Bank with weaponry.
    The weaponry now trafficked includes C4, TNT, anti-tank mines, RPG launchers, and anti-armor and anti-personnel missiles.
    Once in the West Bank, the weaponry and materiel are made available to any armed group willing to carry out attacks on Israel.
    Veteran Israeli Middle East analyst Ehud Ya'ari says there are currently 1,000 members of such armed groups.
    He notes that Iran's IRGC Quds Force has established a joint "operations room" for managing this process with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Faces Growing Public Dissent as Gaza War Erodes Support - Lucy Williamson
    Open criticism of Hamas has been growing in Gaza, both on the streets and online. Gaza residents have told the BBC that swearing and cursing against the Hamas leadership is now common in the markets, and that some drivers of donkey carts have even nicknamed their animals after the Hamas leader in Gaza - Yahya Sinwar. "People say things like, 'Hamas has destroyed us' or even call on God to take their lives," one man said. "They ask what the 7 October attacks were for - some say they were a gift to Israel."
        There are still those in Gaza fiercely loyal to Hamas. But a senior Hamas official privately acknowledged to the BBC, months ago, that they were losing support as a result of the war. One senior Hamas government employee told the BBC that the Hamas attacks were "a crazy, uncalculated leap." "The Hamas government...prepared well for the attack militarily, but it neglected the home front. They did not build any safe shelters for people, they did not reserve enough food, fuel and medical supplies. If my family and I survive this war, I will leave Gaza, the first chance I get."
        "In Gaza, most people criticize what Hamas has done," said Ameen Abed, a political activist, who had been arrested many times for speaking out against Hamas before the war. "They see children living in tents, and insulting their leaders has become routine. But it has a lot of support among those outside Gaza's border, who are sitting under air conditioners in their comfortable homes, who have not lost a child, a home, a future, a leg."
        Fear of criticizing Gaza's leaders might have lessened, but it hasn't gone. One well-placed source told the BBC that dozens of people had been killed by Hamas in bloody score-settling with other local groups, after Israeli troops withdrew from one area. (BBC)
  • Iran Elects New President - Benoit Faucon
    The last time Masoud Pezeshkian set out to be elected president of Iran, in 2021, Iran's conservative regime barred him from running. This time, Iranian authorities allowed the 69-year-old heart surgeon and political veteran onto the ballot as the sole presidential candidate publicly committed to relaxing the country's strict moral codes regarding women and reviving dialogue with the West. He was elected on Saturday with 53% of the vote to succeed the late President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a May helicopter crash.
        That Pezeshkian was allowed to run at all indicated that the Iranian establishment considered him to be a safe choice. Iran's president is the country's No. 2 official after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The supreme leader can block him, as can Parliament, leaving the president with little influence on security and military matters.
        During the campaign, Pezeshkian zealously pledged his loyalty to the political system and praised the late military commander Qassem Soleimani. He also made it clear he has no intention to change Iran's refusal to recognize Israel. He scheduled his victory speech to take place at the shrine of the founding leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Targets Hizbullah Air Defense Expert - Fadi Amun
    An IDF drone strike targeted Hizbullah air defense expert Meitam Mustafa Al Atar while he was sitting in his vehicle in the Baalbek region of Lebanon on Saturday. Al Atar took part in the planning and execution of a variety of operations against Israel, and acquired his expertise during visits to Iran. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Strikes Hamas Base at UNRWA School - Yoav Zitun
    The IDF on Saturday struck a Hamas hideout and operational base at an UNRWA-run school in Nuseirat in central Gaza. "Prior to the strike, numerous steps were taken in order to mitigate the risk of harming civilians, including the use of precise aerial surveillance and additional intelligence," the army said. Hamas authorities in Gaza reported that at least 14 Palestinians were killed in the strike. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • When Should Israel Fight Hizbullah? - Elliot Kaufman
    Iran's Lebanese proxy militia Hizbullah has depopulated the north of Israel. Israel has evacuated 70,000 civilians as Hizbullah has fired more than 5,000 missiles and drones since Oct. 7. Israel has killed some 360 Hizbullah fighters, but Hizbullah has an army of tens of thousands, plus at least 150,000 missiles.
        A source close to Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "We're building up our arms industry, stockpiling so the U.S. can't blackmail us....We'll have a war when we're ready." This will take some time. So too, he says, will a cost-effective solution to Hizbullah's suicide drones. An Israeli negotiator adds that it would be foolish to attempt the war on the eve of U.S. elections.
        Tamir Hayman, the leader of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies and a former head of Israeli military intelligence, explains, "Better to do it a couple of years from now. We don't have the resources, the international legitimacy or the full approval of the U.S. to go to war in Lebanon right now."
        Israeli military officials say the Biden administration wants to avert war but is going about it all wrong. Its focus on restraining Israel emboldens the terrorists - making war more likely. When the Biden administration withholds arms or delays their transfer, Hizbullah can take the threat of an Israeli attack less seriously.
        Right now Tehran feels confident, notes Hayman. "Iran is a nuclear threshold state. It effectively controls four other states in the region. Practically, it faces no real threat, while Israel faces huge threats. So, of course it considers its strategic posture superior to Israel's."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Lebanon's Maronite Christians Want No Part of Hizbullah's Wars with Israel - Michael Young
    The Maronite Patriarchate hosted a "spiritual summit" last week, inviting the religious leaders of Lebanon's different communities. Representatives of the Shiite community boycotted the session, which reaffirmed the growing rift between a number of Lebanon's Maronite Christian and Shiite community leaders.
        For many Maronites, Hizbullah's hegemony over Lebanon, its determination to bring in a Maronite president of its own choosing, and its ability to provoke a conflict with Israel without bothering to consult with the Lebanese state or its sectarian counterparts, have all provoked a questioning of their country's sectarian social contract.
        If Lebanon emerges from a war with Israel in ruins, Christians will look for ways to use this as leverage to push for a more decentralized system, arguing that if Hizbullah wants to fight Israel every few years and as a consequence destroy the country, then it can do so on its own.
        The mood in the Christian community is already hostile enough to the present sectarian imbalance that communal leaders will use a war as an opportunity to better organize support among resentful Christians for a profound overhauling of the political system. A war with Israel will almost certainly sharpen Christian bitterness and a sense that Christians no longer feel at home in Lebanon.
        The writer is the senior editor at the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut. (The National-Abu Dhabi)

  • Other Issues

  • Turkish Refusal to Refuel El Al Flight: An Offensive Violation of International Obligations - Amb. Alan Baker
    On June 30, an El Al flight from Warsaw en route to Tel Aviv was not allowed to refuel in Antalya, Turkey, after making an emergency landing to evacuate a passenger in need of urgent medical attention. Due to political hostility generated by the Turkish leadership, local workers at Antalya airport refused to refuel the flight.
        This action involved several substantive violations by Turkey of its international legal and aviation obligations. Furthermore, there appear to be adequate grounds entitling El Al to initiate legal action against the Antalya airport authorities for the various damages and expenses incurred.
        The 1944 Chicago International Convention on Civil Aviation, to which Turkey is party, obligates all states to "provide such measures of assistance to aircraft in distress in its territory" (Article 25). In the still-valid 1953 bilateral aviation agreement between Israel and Turkey, the two parties undertook to "ensure that neutral and non-discriminatory access to airport facilities and all related services is granted to the airlines of the other party" (Article 13).
        Clearly, the legal consequences of this regrettable incident must be taken up at all the relevant levels.
        The writer, Director of the Institute for Diplomatic Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as Legal Adviser and Deputy Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Interests of the Pro-Israel Community Coincide with Those of Most Americans - Mitchell Bard
    AIPAC's United Democracy Project contributed more than $14 million to support George Latimer's defeat of Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary. Supporting candidates aligned with one's values is a cornerstone of democratic participation. There was nothing new or illegal about AIPAC or other lobbies contributing money to the candidate that best reflects their views. For example, Emily's List is "a political action committee that supports Democratic pro-choice women candidates for office" that has spent $43 million in this election cycle. Do you hear any complaints about an organization supporting pro-choice women?
        After months of looking weak and fearful, it is past time for Jews and other supporters of Israel to exercise their muscles. No other group apologizes for using whatever power they possess to advance their interests. In this case, the interests of the pro-Israel community coincide with those of most Americans and the U.S. government. The upcoming elections present opportunities to reinforce bipartisan support for Israel and send a clear message that antisemitism will not be tolerated in our political discourse or policies. (JNS)
  • Oct. 7 Was Part II of 9/11 - Anna Mahjar-Barducci
    Israel is the heart of the West's Judeo-Christian roots and values. The battle in Gaza is not just between Israel and Hamas, as what is at stake is not only the existence of Israel but of the whole collective West, of which Israel is a part.
        Hamas is not fighting merely to create a Palestinian state because, as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, it does not recognize the idea of the nation-state and regards Islam as the homeland. It is part of the Brotherhood's jihad to establish a global Islamic caliphate.
        On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a long-prepared attack against Israel with the goal of defeating the strongest component of the weakening West. The Islamists want to see permanent ferment and revolt until ultimate victory is achieved. If Israel falters, the whole liberal collective "West" will be deeply wounded. Yet the collective West still does not understand what is at stake.
        The writer is a MEMRI Senior Research Fellow.  (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)

  • The Biden administration has made Israel slow down its attempt to destroy Hamas in Gaza, repeatedly forcing the Israelis into paralyzing ceasefire negotiations that have given Hamas the upper hand and insisting on humanitarian aid supplies, most of which were stolen by Hamas to strengthen itself.
  • In addition, the U.S. forced Israel not to take early preemptive action against Hizbullah in Lebanon, which has launched hundreds of missile and rocket strikes on northern Israel, displacing more than 60,000 Israelis from their homes while burning large swathes of the Galilee.
  • Even when Iran fired a barrage of rockets and drones at Israel in April and America and others scrambled to help knock them out, the U.S. stopped Israel from responding robustly.
  • Against this dire backdrop, Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to America in three weeks to address Congress. Netanyahu has a moral duty to explain to Congress and the American people the dire consequences of the Biden administration's appeasement of Iran, why Israel is fighting a war for its survival unlike any other since its foundation, and that the seven-front war against it is merely the opening shot in Iran's war against America and the West.
  • Netanyahu's critics fail to acknowledge that he is a supremely cautious politician. He rarely airs his grievances with the U.S. in public. When he does so, it's because he feels he has no other option. That's why he addressed Congress in 2015 in an attempt to head off President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. It's why he outed the Biden administration for holding up the delivery of weapons essential to the war effort.
  • His intended audience isn't just U.S. lawmakers and the American people. It's also the Arab and Muslim world. For what inspires aggression and war in the Middle East is above all the perception of weakness.
  • If Israel is seen to be bullied into surrender, the Arab and Muslim world will smell that weakness. The Arabs may accordingly retreat from their recent historic overtures of friendship or Iran will move in for the kill. It is therefore essential that Israel is seen to be standing up to America.

    The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK).

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